1. (adjective) Someone who is bad-tempered, argumentative, and difficult to deal with. A cantankerous person is often grumpy, irritable, and prone to complaining or disagreeing with others.


The cantankerous old man on the corner was known for shouting at children who dared to step on his lawn and arguing with anyone who tried to engage him in conversation.

Fun Fact

The origin of “cantankerous” is uncertain, but it’s believed to have emerged in the late 18th century. Some linguists suggest it might be related to the Middle English word “contack,” meaning “quarrel,” or possibly derived from a combination of the words “cank” (to cackle like a goose) and “rancorous.” Regardless of its exact origins, it has become a colorful and expressive way to describe someone with a consistently difficult personality.